Reminders on Tuesday’s Primary: Who can vote and who you can vote for

Above: Most of Southborough voters get to choose which primary to vote in on September 4th. (Image posted to flickr by DonkeyHote)

Earlier this month, I shared news on the upcoming primary. But many readers were in and out of town on vaction. With the polls open the day after the long weekend – it’s a good time for a reminder. (Especially, since tomorrow is the deadline for requesting Absentee Ballots.)

As I previousl posted, I was surprised to learn that each of the big parties’ ballots features a current or former resident.

For more than half of town voters, the first choice you’ll have to make will be which ballot to pick. Over 60% of Southborough voters are “Unenrolled”. They can vote in any party’s primary – but only one. With little overlap in races, your choice may depend on which contested office you care the most about.

But if you are registered with a party, that’s the ballot you’ll need to vote on. (As of earlier this month, Southborough voters were 22.7% Democrat, 15.2% Republican, and 4% Libertarian.)

Reminder – Voters registered as “Independent” are restricted to voting on the United Independent party’s ballot – which doesn’t exist this primary season. (Sorry, it’s too late to change that for this coming primary. You’ll have to wait for the general to vote. To see about changing for future primaries, click here.)

If you vote on the Democratic ballot, you’ll get to decide who vies for four seats in federal and state government. Those primary voters also determine who our district’s Councillor is. (The seat is only challenged in the primary.)

The Republican ballot will gives voters choices in five races, all of which will also be contested in the general. The only overlap in the two parties’ contested primary races is the Governor’s seat. 

The Libertarian ballot for Southborough has only one candidate on it. (Though, you can write in a candidate for just about any seat.) And no other parties have ballots in this year’s primaries.

Voting will take place on Tuesday, September 4th from 6:30 am to 8:00 pm at Trottier Middle School. (If you won’t be able to make it, scroll down for information on Absentee voting.)

Below are the contested races for each party’s Southborough primary ballot. I included links to the sample ballots: 

Democratic Party: 

(sample ballot)


  • Jay M. Gonzalez, Needham
  • Bob Massie, Somerville

Lieutenant Governor

  • Quentin Palfrey, Weston
  • Jimmy Tingle, Cambridge

Across the state, comedian Jimmy Tingle’s name is probably be better known. But here, Quentin Palfrey may get recognition. Before his visit to town in February, Southborough Democrats shared that Palfrey is a native of our town. (You can read about that here.)

Secretary of State

  • William Francis Galvin, Boston – incumbent
  • Josh Zakim, Boston

Councillor, Third District

  • Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney, Watertown – incumbent
  • Nick Carter, Newton

Once again, no one else running for this office in the general. That means that Dem primary voters decide who holds the seat. You can read more background on the job’s responsibilities (and Devaney’s past controversies) through my 2016 post. But this year’s challenger has changed. So, it’s worth reading recent media coverage of the candidates’ debate.

Republican Party:

(sample ballot)


  • Charles D. Baker, Swampscott – incumbent
  • Scott D. Lively, Springfield

U.S. Senator

  • Geoff Diehl, Whitman
  • John Kingston, Winchester
  • Beth Joyce Lindstrom, Groton

Attorney General

  • James R. McMahon, III, Bourne
  • Daniel L. Shores, Hingham

U.S. Rep in Congress, Fifth District

  • John Hugo, Woburn
  • Louis Kuchnir, Southborough

This one initially came as a surprise to me. How did I not know that a Southborough resident was running for U.S. Congress?

It turns out that was pretty easy to miss. A google search couldn’t find a campaign website, social media, or any real news coverage earlier this month. I did find a YouTube video in which he pitched himself at a “Republican Revolution” event this June in Boston. But, since my first post, the Boston Globe covered the race, including a brief Q&A with the candidate.

Register of Deeds, Worcester District

  • Kate D. Campanale, Worcester
  • Kevin J. Kuros, Uxbridge

Also on the ballots:

There are a slew of candidates running unopposed on primary ballots. They include well known incumbents U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D), Lt. Governor Karyn Polito (R), Attorney General Maura Healey (D), U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D), State Senator James Eldridge (D), and State Representative Carolyn Dykema (D).

For Libertarian voters, the only checkbox on the Southborough ballot will be for State Auditor candidate Daniel Fishman of Beverly.

Absentee voting:

The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is 5:00 pm this Friday, August 31. 

Absentee ballots can be obtained at the Clerk’s Office where people can vote in person. The Clerk’s office will stay open until 5:00 pm tomorrow to accommodate any last minute requests.

You can also find the form here, which can be completed and emailed to the Town Clerk at (again – before 5:00 pm on Friday).

Anyone voting by absentee ballot needs to mail it in time to be received before the polls close on Tuesday.

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5 years ago

I went to school with Quentin Palfrey, who is running for Lieutenant Governor. He was smart and thoughtful. He came from a whole family of smart, thoughtful people. Just Wikipedia them. I am excited at the thought of him representing me as lieutenant governor. He is experienced. I mean he was in Obama’s white house. Back when people were hired for knowledge and experience! (And his mom was executive director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign… just in case you didn’t Wikipedia them.).
Quentin is a progressive and that is what we need.

Rose Mauro
5 years ago

I urge all Democratic and unenrolled voters to check out the website of Nick Carter, candidate for Governor’s Council, and to read Beth’s previous post about the Governor’s Council. He has been endorsed by four Massachusetts Attorneys General (Maura Healey, Martha Coakley, Scott Harshbarger, and Tom Reilly), by former State Treasurer Steve Grossman, and by other elected officials including Carolyn Dykema. He would be well-prepared for a seat on the Council due to his background as a trial lawyer and community leader. My contacts in Newton have praised him as hard-working, intelligent, and ethical.

While I appreciate the service of Ms. Devaney over the last 20 years, I think the Council may have evolved over that time and her presence is now seen as disruptive (as Beth alludes to above). If you cannot click through to her Boston Globe link due to paywall, here are some others to check out:

Governor’s Council approves judge; Devaney apologizes for behavior
Vote on judicial nominee triggers ‘chaos’ at Governor’s Council
Vote on judicial nominee prompts Governor’s Councilor Mary Hurley to call process ‘chaotic’
Mary Hurley decries fellow Governor’s Council member’s ‘terror’ as clash over judicial appointments continues

Finally, although the Governor’s Council is ideally made up of people with a mix of backgrounds, the 3rd district has an abundance of legal talent and I believe we should draw upon it to have our say in the selection of judges.

Please remember to vote this Tuesday!

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